1268. My soul is smitten with wonderment, spellbound, and bedazzled by the glorious serenade of the rhythm of life. ~Isabella Rose at: https://isabellarosephotography.net

The art of being happy lies in the power of
extracting happiness from common things.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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I too am “smitten with wonderment,” not only by what we deem as extraordinary but also by ordinary things. What is common in Creation anyway? To me it’s all miraculous so I live pretty “muchly” in a constant state of smittenness as well as in one in which I am spellbound and bedazzled by things common and uncommon. Now before somebody points out the obvious that there are also things bad and ugly and heartbreaking in this world, let me just go ahead and agree that it’s true. But aren’t we all given opportunities to change some of that? And that doesn’t change the fact that there is a world out there which has always been and still is overflowing with things about which one can be smitten. For example, when I started writing this I wondered what “wowing” kind of photo I might find in my archives to go along with the post, but before I got very far into my search I found this photo of a Zinnia and knew that it was the one I wanted to use even though most gardeners would call a Zinnia just a plain old, ordinary flower, hardly comparable with something more exquisite. But just look at the color and the petals that resemble a frilly, ballerina’s skirt. And also it’s one of those photographs in which unexpected background elements add to the beauty with backlighting that creates a kind of charming, dramatic mystique! And surely most everyone remembers as a child squealing with delight, as in being smitten, with the simplest of finds, and probably more than few of us even remember picking some plain old, common flowers as a treasure to take to our mothers or grandmothers.

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. ~Daniel 4:2  ✝

1255. I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. ~Henry David Thoreau

The anthropologists are busy, indeed,
and ready to transport us back into the
savage forest where all human things…
have their beginnings; but the seed
never explains the flower.
~Edith Hamilton

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Okay, here I go to try to convince old Mr. Thoreau that I have a seed there so he can be prepared to expect wonders. In the collage on the left one can see two kinds of rain lilies. Once these lilies finished blooming each flower was replaced by a green, 3 faceted seed pod like the one next to the upper group of lilies. Then below that he or she can see that the pod eventually began to show touches of brown. Moving on, if one looks at the upper right photo he/she can see that the seed casing continued to turn more and more brown until eventually, as in the next photo, the brown facets, one by one, split open to expose the “black gold” hiding inside. Finally in the very last photo the seed pod can be seen split wide open, ready to spill its wonders onto the soil below. And what do I have to do in all this process so that I have more rain lilies to show for it. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch! With absolutely no help from me those seeds will sprout up right where they fall! In fact if I don’t want anymore rain lilies in that area, it behooves me to capture them before they fall so I can take them to work their “black” magic elsewhere. Pretty darned cool, huh?! Downright miraculous, if you ask me!

Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds
in the garden, “I must believe in these seeds,
that they’ll fall onto the earth and grow into
flowers and radishes and beans.” It is a miracle
to me because I do not understand it. And
the fact that they use glib technical phrases to
explain it does doesn’t make it any less a miracle.
Then why shouldn’t we accept God’s miracles?
~Edited quote by Dorothy Day

He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9 ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collage created by me

1187. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. ~Excerpt from an article by David Whyte@gratefulness.org

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Stop what you are doing right now! Just stop for a minute! Close your eyes and feel the in and out movement of your breath. Keep your eyes closed, stay still a little longer, and feel your heart beating. Now open your eyes, take in all the colors and sights around you, and recognize the blessing of sight. Then listen to any sounds you hear and be thankful for you ears and the blessing of both sound and silence. Next reach out your hands and touch something, anything, and become aware of its textures or smoothness, hardness or softness–all those things that come with the blessing of touch. After that find something to take a bite or sip of, and as you chew or swallow, savor and enjoy the flavor and taste of whatever it is. Last, before you return to what you were or were not doing, try to wrap your mind around the “many millions of things that had to come together and live together and mesh together” for all those gifts to be realities in your world. Almost 4 years ago, a day came when all that was threatened to be over for me as the result of 2 clots in my brain. Never, ever take for granted the gifts, the blessings, the miracles, and especially the Giver of the “many millions of things!” Thank you Jesus for this day, these gifts, and your faithfulness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1138. What potent blood hath modest May. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? ~Richard P. Feynman

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Lively fiestas are going on outside my windows, and creatures, great and small, winged or afoot, are partaking of the flowering banquets. In fact the “beasties” have been so busy moving around and supping on May’s “potent blood” that lately I’ve been able to capture only a few images of them with my camera. But that’s okay because I wouldn’t slow them down a bit for a photo op, even if I could, for what they’re doing is sacred and greatly needed. For not only are they satisfying their divinely designed hunger but they are also guaranteeing that this time next year there will be more glory and bounty in earth’s growing spaces. Only God could devise such an amazing design whereby Creation’s continuance and sustenance belongs not in the hands of the biggest, the strongest, or the smartest but whereby mankind owes its provision of food and therefore existence to pollinators, small creatures whose lives span the briefest capsules of time. Given that, it’s regrettable that much of mankind nowadays lives in godless, sterile technological hubs where the sight of the miraculous in the workings of Creation is lost and the enormous power and goodness of the Lord and what He has granted goes unseen or unnoticed or unaccepted. They are totally unaware or disbelieve that their welfare could possibly be carried out, not by human hands, but instead by tiny wings and feet which they, of course, hold not in high regard or for that matter even acknowledge the possibility of  their vital importance.

I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. ~Psalm 50:11  ✝

**Images via Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

1073. Hand in hand, with fairy grace, will we sing, and bless this place. ~William Shakespeare

Soft moss a downy pillow makes, and green leaves spread a tent,
Where Faerie fold may rest and sleep until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby, the firefly gives a light,
The twinkling stars are candles bright, Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night.
~Elizabeth T. Dillingham

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The belief in spiritual beings is almost universal to human culture, be it an accurate understanding of such or not. As children, we often believe in imaginary spirits like faeries, elves, and leprechauns, but as we mature, we begin to sense the existence of a very real and holy Spiritual Being. We learn from Scripture that this Divine Creator can and does send angelic spirits as messengers or protectors. Since all that exists is part of a Grand Design by a benevolent Creator, one can assume then that there’s a sacred reason for imagination and belief in spiritual beings. Creative urges keep us mindful of our Creative God and of our own purposeful, creative abilities. Playfulness as well serves an ordained purpose because it teaches us how to be joyful. We are, after all, implored to be joyful daily for the Lord’s blessings and gifts, and it is through play that children begin to gain wisdom and knowledge of Yahweh’s miraculous abilities and His forgiving and provisionary nature.

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A little fairy comes at night,
Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown,
With silver spots upon her wings,
And from the moon she flutters down.
She has a little silver wand,
And when a child goes to bed
She waves her hand from right to left,
And makes a circle round its head.
And then it dreams of pleasant things,
Of fountains filled with fairy fish,
And trees that bear delicious fruit,
And bow their branches at a wish:
Of arbors filled with dainty scents
From lovely flowers that never fade;
Bright flies that glitter in the sun,
And glow-worms shining in the shade:
And talking birds with gifted tongues,
For singing songs and telling tales,
And pretty dwarfs to show the way
Through fairy hills and fairy dales.
~Excerpted lines from the poem,
Queen Mab, by Thomas Hood

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Psalm 91:11  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

Running in High Heels

http://maryaperez.com/2015/02/08/pre-orders-available-now/

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Mary Perez at Reflections of the Heart asked me to introduce my readers to her new book.  To that end I’m including a picture of the cover and a synopsis of the story Mary tells about her life.  Above is the link to the site where you can pre-order her book, and I’ll bet  you will after reading this synopsis of her narrative.

My life growing up in the 60’s mirrored the thrashing and howling winds of a Miami hurricane, and the sting of Hoboken’s winter bitter cold. When my parents separated, Divorce was the given name of a new storm brewing, with me as a three-year old, at its center. Because the judge awarded my older brother RUBEN to live with our father BENNY, our mother, RUTH was granted sole custody of me. Neglect, filth, kidnappings, racial tension, and alcoholism were my constant companions. Hunger pangs, roaches and mice infestation became my unwelcome companions. Intimately acquainted with an empty stomach, I also carried hunger in my heart, starving for love. I became a teen bride to DONNY, a man from the Caribbean who was twice my age. His melodious accent and take-charge attitude deceived me into believing I had found a better life. “I bought and paid for you, gal,” he reminded me often in drunken rages that escalated with each drink. His words pierced my heart and whirled in my head like a tape stuck on replay. Donny, I discovered, was a ruthless, raging alcoholic. I suffered under his possessive, domineering hand and physical abuses in secret. Our volatile home became so chaotic that Child Protective Services took our small girls to foster homes for three wretched months. In 1982, at the age of twenty-two, I had four children fathered by Donny, and felt like a single mother. Eavesdropping on a strangely timed phone call early one morning, I heard the sultry voice of a strange woman he was calling “baby,” and my fragile heart was broken apart. Again. That night when he returned drunk, I stared down the barrel of Donny’s .357 Magnum, with a single thought running through my head: God, I can’t die! Protect my babies! Thank God, he missed. He left me on the staircase landing, a gaping hole in the plasterboard and my ears ringing from the gunshot. Terrified and alone, I turned to the God of my grandparents where I found solace and healing. As my faith grew, I discovered redemption and self-worth, and learned to forgive, even after my fifteen-year marriage ended in painful divorce. After a year of figuring out how to stand on my own two feet as a single mother of four, I met Mark who became my helpmate. Mark’s stability, unconditional love, and acceptance for my children and me restored my hope and renewed my dreams. It became an aphrodisiac I could no longer resist. Three years later, our marriage marked the beginning of my long awaited happily ever after. But I was not prepared to face the ominous cloud—in the form of my ex-husband—to re-enter my life. That I survived is startling; that I thrived is miraculous.

612. We live at the edge of the miraculous. ~Henry Miller, American writer

Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy;
I drop my fruits like a ripe tree.
~Henry Miller

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Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That’s why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there. ~Henry Miller

This passage by Miller is one I make myself go find and read often because it encourages me to keep growing and learning and improving the skills I’ve been blessed with. Brain research has shown that there are no less than seven different kinds of intelligence and that each person is a genius in at least one of those areas. That’s why when I hear about or read about or know someone who thinks they are not smart enough or creative enough, I feel compelled to take exception. I believe that we, each and everyone of us, live not only “at the edge of the miraculous” as Miller contends but in the midst of it as well. Yahweh, Genius and Creator of all that is, creates all of us in His image, and our inherent gifts and talents are there for a reason. What’s more we have a holy anointing on our lives to develop and use them.

For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. ~Ephesians 5:8-10  ✝

** Image of ripe figs via Pinterest